Ex-Army Chief, Detained in Germany, is Released Pending Trial

Former Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Giorgi Kalandadze, wanted by Georgian authorities on charges of unlawful confinement and torture and apprehended on December 19 in Germany, was released on bail reportedly on January 6. On December 20, the Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office said it sought his extradition.

Speaking with government-critical Mtavari Arkhi TV today, the United National Movement-era defense official explained that his detention ahead of a decision on extradition was changed to bail. Kalandadze said he was awaiting trial in Germany in a few weeks and expressed confidence that the court would rule in his favor — against extradition. 

Recalling that he has previously traveled in and out of Germany without issues, Kalandadze argued it was “a new wave of my discrimination” by Georgian authorities.

The former official also dismissed the Prosecutor’s allegations, that he had plotted and tortured a man to obtain a forced confession for an organization of a terrorist act in July 2012, as “invented and fabricated, having no basis.”

He maintained that he was “appended to the case as one of the accused” years after the official launch of the investigation. The prosecution brought charges “[against me] when I was in Ukraine at the end of 2015, while they started probing the case in 2013,” Kalandadze said. 

Kalandadze, along with other former officials, is charged for violating Article 143 and Article 144’1 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, involving unlawful confinement and torture, respectively. If found guilty, he will face 12-17 years in prison.

The former defense official was appointed as the Chief of Joint Staff on October 8, 2012, by then-President Mikheil Saakashvili, a week after the Georgian Dream won in the parliamentary elections. Before that Kalandadze had served as the Deputy Chief of Staff since 2010.

Kalandadze, along with other UNM-era officials, stood trial in several other cases, charged with illegal confinement and exceeding official authority.

He was acquitted by Tbilisi City Court in August 2013, but the Court of Appeals partly overruled the decision, finding him guilty of “insulting” his subordinates at the Vaziani military base in October 2011 when he was deputy chief of army staff.

The Appellate Court ruled that Kalandadze should be banned from holding official posts for three months, a punishment the man was exempted from by an amnesty act of December 2012.

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